China: Scrap National Security Law to Save Hong Kong Freedoms


(New York) – China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong is a devastating assault on human rights and should be abandoned, more than 86 civil society organizations groups said today in a letter to Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC).

The proposed national security legislation is likely to be discussed at the NPCSC session from June 18 to 20, 2020, or at a special session by the end of June. The proposed law could come into force soon afterward, and quickly be used to crack down on Hong Kong’s freedoms.

“China should abandon this effort to impose a national security law on Hong Kong immediately,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “No government should invoke national security as a justification for repression.”

The groups emphasized that:

  • While the details of the forthcoming legislation remain unclear, comparable legislation in the mainland criminalizes overly broad, vague ‘offenses’ that can encompass any criticism of the government and be used against people peacefully exercising and defending their human rights
  • The law may allow agencies such as the Ministry of State Security and the National Security Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security – long known for serious rights violations in China – to operate in Hong Kong
  • Beijing’s imposition of the security legislation in Hong Kong contravenes the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s functional constitution, and violates international human rights protections in Hong Kong

The groups said in their letter that the NPCSC should:

abandon plans to introduce national security legislation for Hong Kong, as what is known about the draft law so far and the experiences with respective national security laws in mainland China strongly indicate that neither the law nor its application would conform to international human rights law and standards.

Signatories to the letter include:

2047 HK Monitor

Amnesty International

Article 19

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Australia Hong Kong Link

Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service - Fellow Workers Social Action Concern Group

Beyond the Boundary-Knowing and Concerns Intersex

Borderless Movement

Brisbane International Student Solidarity with Hong Kong

Canadian Friends of Hong Kong

Canberra Hong Kong Concern Group

China Criticism Society of Denmark

China Labour Bulletin

Chinese Human Rights Defenders

Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

Christian Social Workers

Christians for Hong Kong Society

Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Citizens’ Radio

Civil Human Rights Front

Civil Rights Observer

Civil Society Development Resources Center

Covenants Watch

Equality Project

Forthright Caucus

Forum Worlds of Labour / Forum Arbeitswelten e.V.

Freedom House

Friends of Conscience

General communication worker union

Grassroot Cultural Centre

Hong Kong Affairs Association of Berkeley

Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China

Hong Kong Christian Fellowship of Social Concern

Hong Kong Christian Institute

Hong Kong Committee in Norway

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles

Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Workers Trade Union

Hong Kong Unison Limited

Human Rights in China

Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan

Human Rights Watch

Humanitarian China

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

International Human Rights Council – Hong Kong

International Service for Human Rights

Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese

Kwai Chung Estate Christian Basic Community

Labour Education and Service Network

McMaster Stands With HK

Netherlands for Hong Kong

New School for Democracy

New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong

Northern California Hong Kong Club

One Body in Christ

Open Data Hong Kong

Planet Ally

Power for Democracy

Progressive Lawyers Group

Queer Theology Academy

Rainbow Action

Reclaiming Social Work Movement

Reporters Without Borders

Retail, Commerce and Clothing Industries General Union

Right of Abode University

Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom

Sheng Kung Hui Lady MacLehose Centre Staff Social Movement Concern Group

Sounds of the Silenced

SRACP Staffs Union

Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty

Taiwan Association for Human Rights

Taiwan East Turkestan Association

The Academic Staff Association of The Education University of Hong Kong

The Association for the Advancement of Feminism

The Hong Kong Society for Asylum-seekers and refugees

The Norwegian Taiwanese Friendship Association

The Norwegian Tibet Committee

The Rights Practice

Torontonian HongKongers Action Group

TWGHs Staff Social Movement Concern Group

United Nations ECOSOC NGO International Career Support Association

Uyghur Human Rights Project

Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement

Worker Empowerment

World Uyghur Congress